The faith of every church is like the seed from which all its dogmas spring.
It may be compared to the seed of a tree, out of which grows everything belonging to the tree, even to its fruit; and also to the seed of man, from which offspring and families are begotten in successive series. Therefore as soon as its leading tenet, which from its predominance is called saving, is known, the character of a church is known.
This may be illustrated by the following example-
Suppose the faith to be that nature is the creator of the universe; it will follow from this faith that the universe is called God, that nature is its essence, that the ether is the supreme Deity whom the ancients called Jove, that the air is the goddess they called Juno and made the wife of Jove; that the ocean is a god below these, which after the manner of the ancients may be called Neptune; and as the Divinity of nature reaches to the earth’s very center, there is a god there also, who, as with the ancients, may be called Pluto; that the sun is the court of all the gods, where they meet whenever Jupiter calls a council; moreover, that fire is life from God; and thus the birds fly in God, the beasts walk in God, and the fishes swim in God. It follows also that thoughts are merely modifications of the ether, as the words flowing from them are modulations of air; and that love’s affections are occasional changes of state caused by the influx into them of the sun’s rays; and along with these notions, that the life after death, together with heaven and hell, is a fable concocted by the clergy for the purpose of acquiring honors and wealth, which, although a fable, is useful, and not to be ridiculed openly, since it serves the public interest by keeping simple minds in the bonds of obedience to magistrates; but those that are inveigled by religion are in fact often devoted to abstractions, their thoughts are fantasies, their actions ludicrous, and they themselves drudges of the priests, believing in what they see not, and seeing what transcends the sphere of their minds.
The belief that nature is the creator of the universe includes these consequences, and many more like them, and they proceed from that belief when it is laid open. They are presented here to show that-
within the faith of the present church, which in its internal form is a faith in three Gods and in its external form a faith in one, there are swarms of falsities
and that as many falsities can be drawn out of it as there are little spiders in the egg-sac of a single spider. Who that has a mind truly rational does not see this by light from the Lord; and how can any other mind see it so long as the door to that faith and its offshoots is shut and bolted by the decree that it is unlawful for reason to look into its mysteries?
To be continued…